Love sparks Timberwolves in preseason opener
MANKATO, Minn. (AP)—Kevin Love(notes) had 17 points and Minnesota made a whopping 50 of 56 free throws to beat Milwaukee 117-103 on Sunday night, making a winner out of coach Kurt Rambis in his preseason debut.
“It’s about what I expected,” Rambis said. “We did a lot of good things, and we did a lot of poor things. We had way too many turnovers, and we forced the action too much, but I’m asking these players to expand their games. They’re doing things they’ve never done, and that leads to turnovers.
The game was played with replacement officials, who called 73 fouls that resulted in 94 free throws total. The Bucks were 26 of 38.
“I don’t think (the officials) had much to do with it,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. “A huge percentage of our fouls were legitimate.”
Love had six points and four rebounds in the first three minutes as the Timberwolves, who never trailed, jumped ahead 12-2. He finished with 13 rebounds in 21 minutes.
“I love getting in there and getting hit,” Love said. “It’s exciting in there, pushing around. That was fun.”
Ryan Gomes(notes) added 13 points and 10 boards for the Timberwolves, and Al Jefferson(notes), who missed the final 32 games of last season with a torn ACL, scored 14 points before sitting out the second half.
“We’re thankful they got Al out of there,” Skiles said. “If he and Kevin would have played most of the time, we probably would have got beat by 50.”
“He has to continue to learn how to read situations and understand the offense,” Rambis said. “I know he can run the pick-and-roll; he’s terrific with that. He has to make sure he gets his teammates involved.”
“We have a lot of work to do,” Skiles said. “We weren’t sharp. We didn’t shoot the ball well, our ball movement wasn’t good, our defense was terrible. We had no answer for how physical they were.
“They had much more intensity. You could feel it in the first four, five minutes of the game that we were going to have to pick up our level of play, and we never did.”